Where does the saying "The crying baby gets the milk" come from? I don't think it's from English.

  • In Spanish we say "el que no llora, no mama", which is almost a literal translation of "the crying baby gets the milk".
    – user42700
    Apr 17, 2013 at 21:22
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    @Gus That's stretching the meaning of "literal" quite a lot.
    – RegDwigнt
    Apr 17, 2013 at 22:43
  • @Reg ... hence "almost", perhaps? I believe the point Gus was making is valid; while the phrase is not a word for word direct translation, the underlying meaning is obviously extremely similar. May 11, 2013 at 5:03
  • 2
    @DavidJohnWelsh Literal has a literal meaning. “He who does not cry, does not nurse” is the literal translation. That’s quite different from the title of this posting.
    – tchrist
    May 11, 2013 at 12:27
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    Chinese always say "会哭的孩子有奶吃" which is identical translation.
    – est
    Jul 23, 2014 at 6:38

1 Answer 1


The English equivalent would be, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." I don't recognize the milk idiom though.

  • 1
    "The crying baby gets the milk" does seem to have English roots and relatively common usage; perhaps more in B.E. than A.E.
    – KeithS
    Jul 20, 2011 at 16:35
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    Not to this B.E. speaker. Never heard it before.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 20, 2011 at 16:49
  • @Colin. This native B.E. speaker has heard neither the 'crying baby' idiom nor the 'squeaky wheel' idiom previously.
    – TrevorD
    May 11, 2013 at 13:59

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